Chotto, shizuka ni shite.

(Hey, be quiet.)

Situation 1: Mr. Okubo is in the middle of an online meeting when his kids start getting noisy.

父: ちょっと静かにして。今、会議中なんだ。

子どもたち: はーい、ごめんなさい。

Chichi: Chotto, shizuka ni shite. Ima, kaigi-chū nan da.

Kodomo-tachi: Hāi, gomennasai.

Father: Hey, be quiet. I’m in a meeting right now.

Children: OK, sorry.


Japanese uses the structures Xくなる and Xになる to indicate that something is becoming “X.” When we replace なる (to become) with する (to do), it expresses the idea that someone is turning something into “X” or making something “X” intentionally. We see this in Situation 1 when Mr. Okubo tells his kids to 静(しず)かにして, he wants them to make things quiet. When “X” is a na-adjective (as in Situation 1) or a noun, the structure is Xにする:


(Let’s make Ms. Sasaki the leader this time.)

友(とも)だちが来(く)るので、部屋(へや)をきれいにしなければならない。(Because some friends are coming, I have to clean the room.)

When “X” is an i-adjective, we use Xくする:

スライドの文字(もじ)をもっと大(おお)きくしたほうがいい。 (You should make the letters on the slides much bigger.)


Situation 2: Ms. Gray is talking to her friend Ms. Takahashi online.

グレイ: 自粛生活をしていると、運動不足になるよね。

高橋: うん。私は、最近、自転車通勤をするようにしているの。それから、甘いものはあまり食べないようにしている。そうすると体重が減るよ。

Gurei: Jishuku seikatsu o shite-iru to, undō-busoku ni naru yo ne.

Takahashi: Un. Watashi wa, saikin, jitensha tsūkin o suru yō ni shite-iru no. Sorekara, amai mono wa amari tabenai yō ni shite-iru. Sō suru to taijū ga heru yo.

Gray: While we spend a time under self-quarantine, there’s a lack of exercise, isn’t there?

Takahashi: Yeah. Myself, recently, I am trying to commute to work by bicycle. Also, I am trying not to eat too many sweet things. In doing that, (I’ll) lose weight.


The Xようにする structure, in which “X” is a verb in its dictionary form or its nai-form, is used when the speaker makes an effort to realize a certain state, “X.” In Situation 2, for example, Ms. Takahashi points out that she makes an effort to commute by bicycle and not eat sweet things. In English, the structure can be rendered as “see to it that” or “make sure that”:


(I’m making sure I practice guitar every day.)


(Please see to it that you come by 8 o’clock tomorrow.)

Xようにする is also used to indicate that someone is doing something to realize a situation for others, as in:


(I’ve seen to it that people can see from the back, too.)


Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 2.

グレイ: 高橋(たかはし)さん、体調管理(たいちょうかんり)、すごくよくやってるね。

高橋: うん。やっぱり免疫(めんえき)が下(さ)がらないようにするのが大切(たいせつ)だから。

グレイ: そうね。自分(じぶん)で自分を守(まも)るようにしなくちゃね。私(わたし)も、ネットでエクササイズの動画(どうが)を見て、やっている。

高橋: 私、運動(うんどう)が全然(ぜんぜん)ダメなんだけど。

グレイ: だいじょうぶ。どんな人(ひと)でもできるようにしてあるんだって。それに、うちでやっていると、他(ほか)の人と比(くら)べなくていいし。でも、甘(あま)いものをがまんしたりして、ストレスたまらない?

高橋: うん。実(じつ)はだいぶたまっている。旅行(りょこう)にも行(い)けないし、おいしいものを食(た)べに行くこともできないし。それで、ときどきたくさん食べると、体重(たいじゅう)がまた元(もと)にもどっちゃうの。

グレイ: そうか。ほんとにむずかしいね。

Gray: Ms. Takahashi, you’re doing very well at managing your physical condition.

Takahashi: Yeah. After all, it’s important for us to make sure our immune systems don’t become weak.

Gray: Right. We must be sure to protect ourselves, by ourselves. Me too, I watch exercise videos on the internet and do them.

Takahashi: I’m not good at exercise at all.

Gray: It’s OK. (Those videos) are made so that anyone can do them, so they say. Besides, doing them at home, there’s no comparing (ourselves) with other people. But, doesn’t the stress pile up if you don’t eat any sweet things?

Takahashi: Yeah. Actually, it’s building up quite a bit. I can’t go on any trips, I can’t go and eat delicious food. So, I sometimes eat a lot, and the weight comes back again.

Gray: I see. It’s very difficult, isn’t it?

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